MINISTER of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has assured that the current recession will be short-lived, as Nigeria would emerge from it in the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of 2021.

Speaking at a two-day annual event of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit with the theme, ‘Building Partnerships for Resilience’, organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Ahmed noted that the federal government is working towards reversing the declining trend in the economy.

She added that the economy would be restored on the path of sustainable inclusive growth in no time using the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that is being implemented.

“The administration is fully aware of the current economic situation and is working round the clock to reverse the trend and restore the economy to the path of sustainable inclusive growth.

“For the three quarters combined for 2020, aggregate Gross Domestic Product, GDP, the decline is now 2.60 percent, this is a clear signal that the Nigerian economy is improving, that there are economic activities that are being better,” she said.

She noted that the nation also referred to as Africa’s biggest economy had entered its second recession in five years in the third quarter of this year as GDP fell for the second consecutive quarter.

GDP dropped by 3.62 percent in Q3 and -6.10 percent in Q2, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.

She said the COVID-19-induced recession followed the pattern across the world where many countries had entered an economic recession.

“Let me remind us that before the impact of COVID-19, the Nigerian economy was experiencing sustained growth which had been improving quarter by quarter until the second quarter of 2020 when the impact of COVID-19 was felt,” she said.

Ahmed said other countries also in recession, including the United Kingdom and the United States of America, recorded much deeper contraction than that of Nigeria.

“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that it has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of negative growth,” she said.

According to her, South Africa which recorded a decline of -50 percent compared to Nigeria’s -6.1 percent in Q2 will also record a deeper negative growth in Q3.

“While the economy has entered into recession in the third quarter, the trend of the growth suggests that this will be a short-lived recession, and indeed by the fourth or, at worst, the first quarter of 2021, the country will exit recession.

“Our expectation of a quick exit, which will be historically fast, is anchored on the several complementary fiscal, real sector and monetary interventions that have been proactively introduced by the government to forestall a far worse decline of the economy and alleviate the negative consequences of the pandemic,” she stated.